Pilot episode for the TV series introduces the lawyers and employees of McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak, a Los Angeles law firm, in dealing with their courtroom cases and personal matters out of...
This popular television drama depicted life in a large Los Angeles law firm. The plots were strongly character-based and dealt with the personal lives and professional activities of the partners, associates, and staff. Scenes centered around the courtroom and the law offices. Often, an episode would open with a surprising twist, which would then be played out during the rest of the show.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Series co-creator Terry Louise Fisher, former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, former entertainment lawyer for Twentieth Century Fox, and producer and writer for Cagney & Lacey (1981), composed a form letter she was thinking of sending to lawyers who complained about this show: "Dear So-and-so: If I were a good lawyer, I'd still be practicing law. Instead, I'm stuck in Hollywood, making ten times as much money. I hope you are as conscientious about your clients, as you are about our show. Thank you for your writing." See more »
Douglas Brackman, Jr.:
I'm more like my father than I thought. I wanted to be the lawyer he was, the man he was. Turns out we both just like to cheat on our wives.
See more »
All of the main characters on L.A. Law were quirky in some way but to go into all of them would take up more space than is allowed here. So I will simply name a few: 1) Michael Kuzak: The social conscience who went out of his way to take cases of the underdogs but also had a goofy side, especially when dealing with his lady love A.D.A. Grace van Owen. 2) Grace van Owen: Very much like Kuzak, except she has higher ambitions than just being a lawyer. She has a reputation of being distant around her colleagues but does let her guard down in one particular moment, involving a technical aspect of the use of an animal by-product. 3) Arnold Becker: Divorce lawyer (this was before the term Domestic lawyer became more accepted). He craves to take high profile entertainment cases and generally loves anything flashy, sport cars and beautiful women in particular. 4) The Markowitz's: Unlikely married couple. The man (Stuart) short and kind of plain and very amiable and the woman (Ann - knee Kelsey) who is beautiful but has a short fuse. He is a tax lawyer and she mostly deals with civil law and is also prone to take cases for the underdog like Kuzak. 5) And finally the two managing partners Douglas Brackman and Leland Mckenzie: Brackman, with every single inferiority complex known to human and also lives in the shadow of his father who was the senior partner before him. Mckenzie, the strict but fair senior partner with a soft spot for his firm and kind of a father figure to all of his associates.
Like the earlier Bochco show Hill Street Blues, the emphasis on one day at a time is very much a mainstay in L.A. Law. The lawyers go through every case in the courtroom over very little time that in the real world would take years and although it is not really what trials are like, it is entertaining and if you are looking for something more realistic then you should try seeing an actual televised trial. Outside of the courtroom there are tons of weirdos and sexy women that the characters come in contact with and some of their actions become deadly (eg. the lawyer who shoots himself in open court). But there is also room for comedy like Kuzak showing up at a wedding, where he is most definitely not invited in a gorilla suit and Becker screwing over one of the aspiring associates in more ways than one. All this is pure TV entertainment but what I like about this show is that it tries to take the high road once in a while and the comic relief is usually hysterical. This mix is rarely pulled off in a successful way but Bochco has created such a great universe that when he stumbles there is always a new try at every turn.
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